September 2020

Tuesday, 9/1

Wednesday, 9/2

Thursday, 9/3

Friday, 9/4

Saturday, 9/5

Sunday, 9/6

Monday, 9/7

Tuesday, 9/8

Wednesday, 9/9

New Student Speakeasy

Open Mic Night

7:30 PM (ET) via YouTube

watch: here

Our student-run open mic night welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. This special New Student Speakeasy will showcase the talents of members of the Class of 2024 and other students new to Penn. If you are an incoming Penn student and want to register for this event, go here.

Thursday, 9/10

Friday, 9/11

Saturday, 9/12

Sunday, 9/13

Monday, 9/14

A meeting of the writers house planning committee

5:00 PM (ET) on Zoom

register: here

The Kelly Writers House is run collectively by members of its community. The Writers House Planning Committee – also known as "the Hub"— meets monthly to discuss Writers House projects and programs. Join us at this first meeting of the year to find out about some of the things we will work on this year and to find out how you can get involved with community-led events and projects. This meeting will take place on Zoom. To attend the meeting, please register here.

Tuesday, 9/15

Wednesday, 9/16


7:30 PM (ET) on YouTube

watch: here
Register to perform: here

SPEAKEASY, our student-run open mic night, welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your dance troupe, your award-winning essay, or your stand-up comedy to share.

Thursday, 9/17


Organized by Lorene Cary

7:00 PM (ET) on YouTube

watch: here

In partnership with #VoteThatJawn and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (PCMS), we will host a virtual reading of poetry by Philadelphia Youth Poets Laureate — by youth and for youth. Join us in exploring civic engagement and the youth vote through poetic responses to Walt Whitman's poem, "Election Day: November 1884." PCMS will continue the exploration of Whitman's poem with the October 30th World Premiere/PCMS Commission of "the still, small voice," by composer Kenji Bunch. Harlem Quartet and Catalyst Quartet will perform.

Soledad Alfaro-Allah is the former Youth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia from 2014–2015. Since then she has decided to dedicate much of her time to the importance of teaching literacy, and poetry to youth.

Siduri Beckman is a lifelong Philadelphian. She served as the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia where she was mentored by Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez. She was published most recently in MSU Press's 2019 collection, Undocumented: Great Lakes Poet Laureates on Social Justice. Siduri is passionate about the intersection of poetry, public education, and civic engagement. Siduri graduated from Yale University in 2020.

Cydney Brown is a poet and activist from Abington Friends School. She loves that there are no limitations with writing. She wrote a book of poems entitled "Daydreaming." Cydney wishes to inspire people to stand up for what they believe in. She is supported by her family, Angelita, Kayla and Briana.

Mia Concepcion is a current freshman at Temple University, studying Art Education. Mia was named Philadelphia's 2019-2020 Youth Poet Laureate, and through this position she strived to engage youth poets across Philadelphia. Mia wishes to use poetry and art to speak on current issues, and inspire youth poets to write.

David Jones is a Philadelphia native. David found his love for words at a young age, but he didn't find himself on a stage until he was 12. It started with self expression, and now he writes with the intent to heal.

Wes Matthews is a Detroit-born, Philadelphia-based poet and essayist. His work has been published in the Detroit Free Press, Scoundrel Time, Dreginald Magazine, and elsewhere. Wes served as the 2018-19 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate and received the Congressional Award for “outstanding and invaluable service to the community."

Kenji Bunch is one of America’s most engaging, influential, and prolific composers. Through an expansive blend of classical and vernacular styles, Bunch makes music that's "clearly modern but deeply respectful of tradition and instantly enjoyable." (The Washington Post) His interests in history, philosophy, and intergenerational and cross-cultural sharing of the arts reflect in his work. Varied style references in Bunch's writing mirror the diversity of global influence on American culture and reveal his deft ability to integrate bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, and funk idioms.

Violinist Karla Donehew-Perez, a founding member of the Catalyst Quartet, was born in Puerto Rico and began playing the violin at age three. At twelve, Karla moved with her family to California where she continued her studies with Anne Crowden, director and founder of The Crowden School. Karla completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying performance with violin teachers Paul Kantor, David Cerone, and William Preucil. Karla has collaborated in chamber music with Frederica von Stade, Gary Karr, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Takacs Quartets, among others. She has performed as a soloist with the Berkeley Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. She has been guest concertmaster at the Tucson Symphony and spent two years as a fellow at the New World Symphony, often as concertmaster or principal second violin. Karla performs on a violin made in 2013 by renowned German luthier Stefan Peter Grenier, supported in part by a Sphinx MPower Artist Grant, and a fine violin bow by Victor Fetique on generous loan from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation.

Trapeta B. Mayson is the 2020-2021 Philadelphia Poet Laureate. She reads her poetry widely and works extensively facilitating poetry and creative writing workshops. Her work sheds light on and honors the immigrant experience and amplifies the stories of everyday people. She is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Literature, Leeway Transformation Award, Leeway Art and Change Grant, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grants. Her work was also nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow and a 2019 Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellow with the Aspen Institute. She is the author of She Was Once Herself and Mocha Melodies. Mayson also released two music and poetry projects, SCAT and This Is How We Get Through, in collaboration with internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist, Monnette Sudler. Her other publications include submissions in The American Poetry Review, Epiphany Literary Journal, Aesthetica Magazine, and Margie: The American Journal of Poetry among others. Trapeta is a native of Liberia. Currently residing in Philadelphia, she is a graduate of Temple University, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, and Villanova University School of Business. Currently working in the social services field, she is also a member of several local organizations where she uses the arts to mobilize, build community, and create change.

Friday, 9/18

Saturday, 9/19

Sunday, 9/20

Monday, 9/21

Literary Trivia Night

8:00 PM (ET) via Zoom

Register: here

Join us for an evening of literary (and literary-adjacent) trivia via Zoom. Put your book smarts to the test against friends, classmates, colleagues, and nemeses. To register for this event, click here.

Tuesday, 9/22


6:00 PM (ET) on YouTube

Hosted by: Michelle Taransky
watch: here

Eleven years after Whenever We Feel Like It hosted its first “We All Feel Like It” reading in the Kelly Writers House Arts Café, the third “We all Feel Like It” reading will feature poets from the KWH community. Readers will include James Albrecht (C'21), Quinn Gruber (C'22), Rema Hort (C'23), Nick Kotler (C'22), Kelly Liu (C'21), Quincy Morgan (C'23), Anika Prakash (C'23), Isabella Schlact (C'23), Robb Soslow (C'22), and Cynthia Zhou (C'23).

Jamie Albrecht is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Poetry and Poetics. He pursues boundaries and limits, looks to relation and its dissolution. Ultimately, he is interested in you. He's from Los Angeles and spends lots of time missing his dogs too.

Quinn Gruber is a junior majoring in English and Italian literature that tripped and fell into a medieval studies minor last semester. They're particularly interested in poetry, translation, zines, and Dante, but are just as likely to be heard talking about classical music, knitting, the American chestnut tree, and Star Trek.

Rema Hort (she/her/her) is an artist but, perhaps, not a poet. She is a Sophomore studying the History of Art but prefers art of the now; she is a visual person, from the paintings she makes in the privacy of public spaces to her slight obsession with the white walls of museums. Recently, she has found a way to make those same visuals with words by making monuments of personal moments and deconstructing the visual world around her.

Nicky Kotler is a junior in the College who is studying ancient history. Having yet to take a writing seminar and also not having written poetry since 6th grade, Nicky somehow stumbled his way through Professor Taransky’s class last year. Don’t worry, he is just as surprised as you are that he is a reader. Needless to say, this event promises to be the crowning achievement of Nicky’s literary career.

Kelly Liu is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in English and minoring in Art History. At Penn, she's involved in WQHS Radio and works as an editorial assistant for Jacket2. She also writes for The Philadelphia Globe.

Quincy Morgan is a sophomore studying Politics, Philosophy, Economics major with a minor in Computer Science. But she took a poetry class once with Michelle Taransky and wishes she could again. She has very few accomplishments to her name but amongst those she owns a white sectional couch with no stains, won a graffiti contest in Mexico when she was 12 (the fumes are probably why she ended up as she is), and once dog sat for a whole week and managed to keep it alive and well. When she is not trying to get her GPA up or goofing off, she can be found painting in an attempt to get her second gallery show off the ground.

Anika Prakash is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the editor-in-chief of Red Queen Literary Magazine. She was a participant in the 2016 Adroit Journal Mentorship Program, the 2017 Iowa Young Writers' Studio, and the 2018 Kelly Writers House Summer Workshop. Her poetry has been recognized by the Adroit Journal, Scholastic Art & Writing, and the Writers' Theatre of New Jersey, and her work has appeared in the Platypus Press anthology A Portrait in Blues, Red Paint Hill, Noble Gas Qtrly, Hobart, and Glass, among others.

Isabella Schlact is a sophomore in the College who is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. She’ll tell you that she’s from Florida within the first five minutes of talking to her (you don’t even know humidity). She loves smoked salmon and spoken word poetry, and she has a genuine passion for impersonating Elizabeth Warren. Isabella was once informed that her gluten allergy was one of the top five facts about her, though she’s not sure that she agrees with this analysis.

Robb Soslow is a junior in the College and dreams about making things (all sorts of things: momentous and meaningless things, real and unreal things, things that make and unmake things, thingies). Things make him laugh. He likes to cook; he loves to eat — that’s why he cooks — and is searching for phrases that connect distant places. He doesn’t mind ‘remote learning,’ but does like remote learning.

Cynthia Zhou is an 18-year-old artist, designer, and poet currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work—which revolves around stories of equity and the transience of memory—has been exhibited in the Kennedy Center in DC, as well as in NYC, San Francisco, Miami, and elsewhere. She is a 2018 National YoungArts Foundation Finalist and was recently recognized at the White House as a 2019 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She currently lives in West Philadelphia with her swing dance troupe and five lobster plushies. Find her at!

Wednesday, 9/23

A reading by Bob Perelman

6:00 PM (ET) on YouTube

watch: here

Bob Perelman is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including Iflife, Virtual Reality, The First World, Ten to One: Selected Poems, and, most recently, Jack and Jill in Troy from Roof Books. He collaborated with his wife, the painter Francie Shaw, on Playing Bodies. His latest critical book is Modernism the Morning After. He taught at Penn for twenty-five years and now lives in Berkeley.

About Jack and Jill in Troy: "Bob Perelman's latest book, Jack and Jill in Troy, makes use of the rapid clarity of Homer and the elemental incantations of nursery talk to create a compelling array of poems that speak to our present moment with tragic humor and urgent, skeptical directness. A rather R-rated version of Jack and Jill appear in some poems, as if a worldly-wise Mother Goose is addressing young and old in the same breath. In other poems the world of the Iliad appears — permanent war economy, never-finished gender negotiations, continual power disputes, absolute hierarchies arbitrarily enforced — but both these nursery matters and the ancient epic trappings are brought forward to provide a wide-angle frame onto our own situation."

Thursday, 9/24

Poems from a Sinking City

A conversation with Indonesian Poet Ahmad Khairudin (Adin)

10:00 AM (ET) on YouTube

sponsored by: Department of Germanic Languages and Literature and Creative Ventures at Kelly Writers House
watch: here

Adin writes urgent, personal poems about urban life in a coastal city inundated by sea level rise and subsidence, contending with alternating floods and droughts, and about the resilience of people living in kampungs (informally organized low-income neighborhoods in vulnerable areas). For Adin, poetry, culture and the arts are participatory projects that build social cohesion and increase political leverage. Adin will read his poems in Indonesian accompanied by English translations in the context of a conversation with Simon Richter about poetry, community, and the climate emergency as seen from a kampung in Semarang on the Northern coast of Java. This event is Kelly Writers House's contribution to Penn Climate Week.

Ahmad Khairudin (Adin), Director, Kolektif Hysteria; Lecturer, Faculty of Anthropology, Universitas Diponegoro; and poet. Adin has an MA in Anthropology from the Universitas Indonesia. He has been the director of Hysteria since 2007. Hysteria is the primary platform and network for socially engaged art in the city of Semarang. Their multi-year collaborative interventions with vulnerable low-income kampungs throughout the city are legendary. Hysteria uses art and culture to help kampungs express and represent their distinct identity. This often results in greater visibility and leverage for the kampung, bringing political and economic benefits, in addition to greater social cohesion. Despite Hysteria's urban edginess, they gain the trust of even pious kampungs. Increasingly their work in the kampungs is linked to resilience and adaptation, for example in the subsiding Kampung Kemijen, which deals with tidal flooding and flash floods, and Kampung Nongkosawit, in the uplands, where drought and landslides alternate as threats. Hysteria deploys mural painting, music, cultural history, theater, crafts, story-telling and poetry, local experts, public discussions, video, mapping, design and other elements, always location-dependent and in collaboration with the community. The real art work is the process itself, which is also duly curated and archived. Hysteria played an important role in mediating between city government and communities during the development of the Semarang Resilience Strategy in the 100RC Program. Adin has received training and global recognition as a curator in Germany and Japan, and was invited to Berlin in 2019 as part of the Global Solutions Initiative. In June 2019, he and two other members of Hysteria were artists in residence in Heidelberg, Germany. Adin is in demand as an inspiring keynote speaker throughout Indonesia and Southeast Asia. In 2019, he published Lobang Pertama, a selection of his poetry.


Povich Journalism Program

7:00 PM (ET) on YouTube

co-sponsored by: The Daily Pennsylvanian and the Nora Magid Mentorship Prize
hosted by: Stephen Fried
watch: here

Hoping to work in journalism, media, or publishing after college? Our annual Careers in Journalism and New Media alumni panel — sponsored by KWH, The Daily Pennsylvanian, and the Nora Magid Mentorship Prize — focuses on how you can prepare for first jobs and careers in print, online media, publishing, and related fields. Alumni panelists will include Matt Flegenheimer (C'11), Jessica Goodman (C'12), Ashley Parker (C'05), and Rebecca Tan (C'19), with moderator Stephen Fried (C'79).

Matt Flegenheimer is a staff writer at the New York Times covering national politics. He started at the Times in 2011 on the Metro desk covering transit, City Hall, and campaigns. He is a University of Pennsylvania graduate, Class of 2011.

Jessica Goodman is the Indiebound bestselling author of the YA novel, They Wish They Were Us, out now from Razorbill/ PenguinTeen. She is the op-ed editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. She and her team received a National Magazine Award for their 2017 story, "How to Run for Office." Previously, she was a Digital News Editor at Entertainment Weekly and an Entertainment Editor at HuffPost.

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for the Washington Post. She was part of the Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2018, for their coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. She joined the Post in 2017, after 11 years at the New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns, and Congress, among other things. She is an NBC/MSNBC senior political analyst, and has also written for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Glamour, and The Washingtonian, as well as other publications. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, with a degree in both English and Communications.

Rebecca Tan is a writer and reporter at the Washington Post, where she covers local government. In 2020, she has been writing about the coronavirus in the D.C. metro area, focusing on the disproportionate impact on nursing homes and underserved communities. She was on the ground during the historic protests in Washington following the killing of George Floyd and contributed to the Post’s coverage—which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting—of back to back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in 2019. She previously worked for, and in college, wrote for and was the executive editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Stephen Fried is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Penn and Columbia. He is the author of six nonfiction books, including the acclaimed biographies RUSH: Revolution, Madness and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (a finalist for the 2019 George Washington Book Prize), Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West—One Meal at a Time, and Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, and co-author with Patrick Kennedy of A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Fried has been a staff writer at Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, and Philadelphia Magazine. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

Friday, 9/25

Saturday, 9/26

Sunday, 9/27

Monday, 9/28

Tuesday, 9/29

Jay Kirk: Avoid the Day

A conversation with Alli Katz

6:00 PM (ET) on YouTube

watch: here

Avoid the Day: A New Nonfiction in Two Movements. A surreal, high-wire act of narrative nonfiction that redefines the genre, Avoid the Day is part detective story, part memoir, and part meditation on the meaning of life — all told with a dark pulse of existential horror. What emerges is an unforgettable study of mortality and the artist's journey.

Jay Kirk is the author of the book Kingdom Under Glass, named one of the Washington Post's Best Nonfiction Books. His widely anthologized award-winning nonfiction has been published in Harper's Magazine, GQ, and the New York Times Magazine. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, 9/30

Kiley Reid: a reading and conversation

Cheryl J. Family Fiction Program

6:00 PM (ET) on YouTube

hosted by: Kaliyah Dorsey
watch: here

An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her writing has been featured in the New York Times, Playboy, WSJ. Magazine, Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina, where her short story was the first-place winner in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest. Her New York Times-bestselling debut novel, SUCH A FUN AGE, is currently in development by Lena Waithe's Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures. Kiley lives in Philadelphia.